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2014 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Kate Hector
Phone: 512-471-5883

Date: Jan 28, 2015
Category: General Information


AUSTIN— The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the best UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2014 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of academics, athletics and music from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.

The award, now in its 24th year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the educational system.

“Interscholastic competition and student performance have innumerable benefits that are only possible through the hard work and dedication of sponsors, coaches and directors like these,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “On behalf of the UIL I commend these outstanding educators." 

Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic memento from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.

The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2014 are as follows:

Eloise Blair – Houston Lamar High School

Eloise Blair has been a speech and debate coach since 1982, coaching informative and persuasive speaking, prose and poetry interpretation, cross examination and Lincoln Douglas debate as well as congressional debate and current issues. She has successfully coached students to UIL State Championships in prose, informative speaking and Lincoln Douglas debate in addition to numerous regional awards and state finalists. 

“I have always held the belief that all students can gain from academic competition. In this competitive cauldron, debate team members forge critical thinking skills that often surpass those to be found solely in the classroom,” Blair said.

Roxan Bowman – Ballinger High School

During her 16 years as a UIL Academic Sponsor, Roxan Bowman has coached number sense, calculator, mathematics and served as a UIL Academic Coordinator. During that time she has coached numerous students to the UIL Academic State Meet, including a state champion in calculator applications in 2007, and 2nd place honors in calculator three times.

“UIL Academics give students such a broad range of opportunities in which to compete,” Bowman said. “While knowledge of content allows them to attain goals of competition, the lessons of dedication, integrity and teamwork are invaluable to their educational growth.”

Tom Chavez – Brownsville Rivera Early College High School

Tom Chavez has served as coach, athletic coordinator or athletic director for more than 35 years. During this time he has coached teams to six district championships and an area championship. However, Chavez is most proud of the impact and change in the lives of the students he served. More than 20 of his former student-athletes went on to teaching and coaching.

“Coaches are instrumental in the lives of students, they serve as mentors, friends, teachers, fathers, mothers, big brothers,” Chavez said. “We build relationships, then we build programs.”

Carol Cox – Archer City High School

Carol Cox has served as a UIL Journalism sponsor for 16 years, and has lead several students to top six placements at the Academic State Meet in news writing, editorial writing and headline writing. In 2014 her journalism team was crowned state champion. 

“Competing educates students in concepts such as winning and losing gracefully, the importance of teamwork, meeting deadlines and the need for organization,” Cox said, “all skills that will help them even beyond their formal education.” 

Elizabeth Dickinson – Lometa High School

In her 22 years as a UIL academic coordinator and sponsor, Elizabeth Dickinson has coached oral interpretation, extemporaneous speaking, one-act play, and current events. Her school was crowned the conference 1A UIL Academic Team Champion in 2014, and she coached the speech team to state championship twice during her tenure.

“I personally try my utmost to promote self-discipline and self-motivation that will be life long and produce responsible and respectful adults for the future generations,” Dickinson said. “I believe that UIL is one of the best platforms to achieve these goals.” 

Kathy Fishburn – Amarillo Tascosa High School

Kathy Fishburn has been an orchestra director for 47 years, and has earned more than 120 UIL Sweepstakes Trophies. Throughout her teaching career more than 25 of her former students have become band and orchestra directors. 

“I have always felt that the UIL competitions not only teach music, but they also teach team building, responsibility, motivation, obtaining goals and other things that help mold a student into a successful adult,” Fishburn said.

Richard Herrera – Northside Brandeis High School

During his 31 years of sponsoring UIL music, Richard Herrera has directed students in marching band, concert band, sight-reading, and solo and ensemble. Herrera directed a marching band to a state championship at the UIL State Marching Contest, and has had consistent UIL Sweepstakes award winners and outstanding soloists. 

“UIL is the healthy way for students to compete against one another in order to become better at their sport or fine art, and eventually teaching the students how to win or lose with grace and dignity,” Herrera said.

Dennis Hodgkiss – Paris North Lamar High School

Dennis Hodgkiss has been coaching UIL academic events since 1982, during that time he has coached journalism, current events, social studies and served as a UIL Academic Coordinator. During his time as an academic sponsor he has coached students to state championships in headline writing and editorial writing. As Academic Coordinator he has helped students earn a state championship in accounting and one-act play, and 11 individual and team state championships in speech and debate. 

“Academic competition such as that provided by UIL contests serves the student, school and society well,” Hodgkiss said. “ These experiences are unparalleled in the high school setting and insure that students will grow personally and academically.”

Carl Idlebird – Sommerville High School

During his 34 years as a UIL marching and concert band director Carl Idlebird has received 21 consecutive first division ratings in UIL marching band. He has also directed bands to the State Marching Contest five times.

“The value of fair and well organized competition is immeasurable,” Idlebird said. “I cannot think of better activities and opportunities to teach my students about cooperation, responsibility, punctuality, leadership, dependability, determination and comrade.”

Bill McDonald – Houston Strake Jesuit College Prep

Bill McDonald has served as head soccer coach for more than 20 years and head tennis coach for eight years. During his time as a coach McDonald has lead teams to two regional championships, two state tournament appearances and second place at the UIL State Championships.

“My job is to prepare the young men to be the best player, teammate, opponent and person that they can be on and off the field, so that they have the technical ability, tactical awareness, and the mental composure to control emotion and act in the best manner even in the toughest situations,” McDonald said.

Lindy Perez – Richardson High School

Lindy Perez has served as a UIL choir director for 30 years. During her career she has directed choirs to numerous Sweepstakes Awards and her students have earned superior and excellent ratings every year at the UIL Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest. 

“The rigor of the UIL process lays the foundation and expectation of excellence that shapes my classroom and my relationship with my students on a daily basis,” Perez said. 

Rick Rhoades – Cameron Yoe High School

During his 31 years as a coach Rick Rhoades has coached football, basketball, track & field and baseball. Rhoades has lead teams to state championships twice in football and twice in track in addition to numerous district honors.

“The educational process is the backbone of our democratic society and for our society to function as it was designed to, we must do a great job of education our youth,” Rhoades said. “Athletics plays an important role in this process of educating and hopefully it will involve as many students as possible.” 

Kenneth Rohrbach – Three Rivers High School

Kenneth Rohrbach has coached UIL academic events for 24 years, coaching nearly every academic event during that time. He coached teams to a 1A Lincoln-Douglas debate state championships, as well as 5 state silver medalists and numerous state qualifiers.

“I firmly believe that students need to be involved in some school sponsored activity, whether that be athletics, UIL academics or speech or another type of activity,” Rohrbach said. “Involvement in these activities keeps students involved in their school instills pride in accomplishment, grace in defeat, and an ability to understand what success truly is.” 

Jon Skupin – Sadler S&S Consolidated High School

In his 31 years of service as a UIL academic sponsor, Jon Skuptin has coached One-Act Play, prose and poetry, extemporaneous speaking, debate and the newly piloted film contest.

“We all do our best. We all see our kids grow and learn. Competition brings out the best work in people,” said Skupin. “In the 30 years I’ve been doing this my kids and I have always reached a contest where another school was judged superior to us. That’s when the quality learning begins.”

Kerry Taylor – Austin Westlake High School

Kerry Taylor has directed UIL marching band for more than 30 years. During his tenure he has directed bands to top-10 performances at the UIL State Marching Contest four times as well as several Outstanding Performer awards at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest.

“Set goals. Work hard. Stick with it. Help others succeed. Organize your time,” Taylor said. “If you do these things and give your best performance, then you can leave the event with a smile on your face, your head held high, and a sense of pride in your accomplishment, no matter what your placement.” 

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